Super Rugby Round 6: What to Expect

Super Rugby Round 6

We are closing in on the halfway point of the Super Rugby Pacific season with Super Rugby Round 6 and a season that promised so much has failed to live up to expectations. It’s been a case of deja vu as the New Zealand sides continue to dominate the competition, with the Chiefs sitting undefeated on top of the ladder. Injuries continue to dominate the headlines, as the Waratahs and the Crusaders struggle for consistency across the opening weeks of the competition.

Moana Pasifika hosts the Highlanders before the match of the round sees the Queensland Reds take on the defending champions, the Crusaders in Brisbane. Stay across all the latest Super Rugby news and match-ups for Super Rugby round six below.

Super Rugby Round 6 matches

Moana Pasifika vs Highlanders

Surprisingly, this is only the second meeting between these two sides, and the hosts will be desperate to get their first win of season 2023. It doesn’t make pretty reading for fans of Moana Pasifika, who are facing a Highlanders side that has scored over 100 points in their last two games. The hosts have struggled, losing their last three on the bounce, conceding more than 50 against the Brumbies and Chiefs. The Highlanders coach Clarke Dermody will be hoping to welcome back All Blacks forward Shannon Frizzell who has been missing the last two weeks.

The hosts have struggled to score points this season; justifying their place at the foot of the table. Aaron Mauger’s side has been good in patches this season but struggled to play 80 minutes of consistent rugby. It could be another bleak start to the weekend for the Pacifika, as the Highlanders should make this their third win on the bounce.

Queensland Reds vs Crusaders

The match of the round came early, as the Reds host the defending champions in Brisbane. The Reds were unlucky last week against the Rebels and will be desperate to make an impression at home. The visitors have an imposing record, winning their last eleven straight matches by an average of 20 points. The home side hasn’t tasted success against a Kiwi side for quite some time. Their last win over a New Zealand side came in 2021 against the Chiefs; losing the last nine games since then. They will need to get the job done without Wallabies centre Hunter Paisami. The player maker is set to miss the next five weeks with a medial ligament injury.

Scott Robertson’s side has had a horrendous run with injuries over the first five weeks of the competition. Adding to the injury woes was the news that All Blacks winger Sevu Reece is out for the season with an ACL injury. Reece was injured last week against the Blues at Eden Park and is at long odds to make the trip to the World Cup. The Crusader’s depth will be tested, but expect the Reds to steal this one at home in a thriller.

Fijian Drua vs Melbourne Rebels

The Drua are chasing back-to-back wins for the first time in their history, after upsetting the Crusaders 25-24 at home. The Rebel’s stocks are on the rise, thanks to an impressive performance against the Queensland Reds in round 5. The hosts have lost their last seven consecutive matches against Australian opposition, while the Rebels have won once in their last 12 outings away from home. Both sides have struggled for consistency over the first five rounds of the competition, but the Rebels have shown the ability to grind out wins in the clutch moments. The visitors have enough class through the starting XV to turn around their away form.

Chiefs vs Blues

The top-of-the-table Chiefs are set to do battle with last year’s finalist, the Blues at FMG Stadium. The Blues will be looking to close the gap on the ladder leaders, after a tough win against the Force. The Blues have won five of their last six matches against the Chiefs, including their last three. A win this weekend would give the Blues their best run against the Chiefs since 1999. The Chiefs are hot right now, claiming maximum points across their opening five games. The Blues have been equally impressive on the road, winning their last 11 games on the bounce. This should be a blockbuster with the competition’s best defence set to be seriously tested by a star-studded Blues backline. Expect the visitors to continue their climb up the Super Rugby ladder with a hard-fought win.

 Brumbies vs Waratahs

The Brumbies are set to welcome back several key players as they play host to the Waratahs, in Canberra. Robe Valetini, Pet Samu, James Slipper, Nic White, Tom Wright and Len Ikitau are all set to feature. The hosts have dominated this fixture, winning their last 10 consecutive matches against the Tahs. GIO stadium has proven to be a fortress for the home team, winning 19 of their last 23 games.

This has all the makings of a one-sided local derby. To their credit, the Waratahs haven’t been hiding behind a horrendous injury toll and welcome back Lalakai Foketi at inside centre and Max Jorgensen at fullback. The Waratahs have lost six of their last seven games; the last time they lost more consecutive games in Super Rugby competitions was a 13-game stretch across the whole of 2021.

With Wallabies coach Eddie Jones watching on, expect some test match intensity in this Aussie derby.

Hurricanes vs Force

The Force head to Wellington hoping to become the first Aussie side to derail the Cane’s 14-match winning streak against Australian sides. Force skipper Michael Wells and Test hooker Folau Fainga’a are both set to miss the clash through injury. The Hurricanes have a stellar home record against the Force, winning their previous seven encounters

Hurricanes coach Jason Holland is expecting the Force won’t be easy beats. “They always have massive intent and massive physicality, and I think with their coaching set up this year, they’re definitely playing a pretty good style of footy,” noted Holland.

Expect the Hurricanes to continue their winning streak against the visitors.

This is Daniel Gardner‘s Super Rugby Round 6 analysis. Keep your eye out for his next piece.